September 17, 2012 / 8:07 PM / 5 years ago

JP Morgan unit seeks money from California ISO in complaint

* JP Morgan unit wants $3.7 million plus interest

* FERC investigating JP Morgan unit for manipulation

Sept 17 (Reuters) - A unit of U.S. bank JPMorgan Chase & Co has filed a complaint with federal energy regulators against the California power grid operator, claiming the grid failed to pay the bank unit about $3.7 million for the dispatch of some generation.

In its complaint to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), J.P. Morgan Ventures, the J.P. Morgan unit, claimed the California Independent System Operator (ISO) exceptionally dispatched generation controlled by the bank unit on at least 18 occasions in April, May and June 2012, but failed to pay the full amount owed for those exceptional dispatches.

FERC, meanwhile, has been investigating complaints that J.P. Morgan Ventures may have bid up electricity prices in California and the Midwest by some $73 million.

A spokeswoman at the California ISO could not immediately say if J.P. Morgan's complaint was related to that FERC investigation.

Over the past year, FERC has become more aggressive in pursuing power market manipulation allegations against banks, including Deutsche Bank and Barclays.

In the California ISO, exceptional dispatches are manual dispatches of generation by the grid operator that are outside of the market optimization software, which the ISO uses to dispatch most generation in the system.

J.P. Morgan Ventures said in its complaint the bank unit has not yet received an answer from the California ISO as to why the grid operator mitigated the amount paid to the bank unit for the exceptional dispatches.

In August, however, J.P. Morgan Ventures said the California ISO told FERC the grid operator was mitigating payments made to one "market participant" for certain exceptional dispatches.

J.P. Morgan Ventures wants FERC to order the California ISO to pay the bank unit the full amount owed for energy acquired through exceptional dispatches plus interest.

J.P. Morgan Ventures does not own any generation but has the right to dispatch or buy the output of certain generating facilities through agreements. Those generating units in California include Alamitos 1-4, Alamitos 6, Huntington Beach 1 and Redondo Beach 5-8, the company said in its complaint.

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